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By LARRY VAUGHT
Jon Hood didn’t do anything flashy Wednesday, and that was fine with Kentucky coach John Calipari.
“Jon Hood, that is the best he can play,” said the UK coach after Hood scored 17 points on 8-for-15 shooting in the Blue-White Game. “He’s not listening to somebody tell him how to play, he knows what his game is now. So he takes that 7‑footer. He’ll run and do things that he can do. He’s getting his legs back. I was happy for him.”
Hood missed all of UK’s national championship season because of an offseason knee injury and this was his first time in a game-like setting since the end of the 2010-11 season. He had five assists, three rebounds and one steal to go with his scoring.
“It feels good to get out there and play, first and foremost. What I did on the court was good. I played within myself and everything. I did all the things that coach asked me to do, but I was just happy to get out there and play,” Hood said. “I could not stop smiling the entire time.
“ Jarrod (Polson) looked at me and the White team had been on a bit of a run, and Jarod looked at me and said ‘Why are you smiling?’ and I said ‘Because I get to play. Last year I was watching you guys play.’”
Hood was on the Blue team that opened the game playing against Ryan Harrow, Archie Goodwin, Nerlens Noel, Kyle Wiltjer and Alex Poythress, the expected starters. Yet Hood’s team raced to an early lead and won the game even with Calipari juggling lineups.
“We came out ready to play. The White team had a lot of young guys and we had an old man. We had Julius (Mays) and he knows how to play. He knows how to prepare for a game. He has done it his entire career,” Hood said. “We were ready to play and jumped on them from the start and got them on their heels.They did a good job recovering.”
Hood has also from his ACL surgery last summer.
“The knee is 100-percent. It gets sore, but if any of you guys ran on the court for five minutes, your knee would be sore, too. My knee is perfectly fine. I ice it a couple of times a day, but everything is fine,” Hood said.